Humpback Whale Stranded in Long Island Euthanized
Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have euthanized the 25-foot-long humpback whale stranded on Long Island on Wednesday.
The 20-ton mammal has been stranded for 10 days in the shallow waters of Moriches Bay and had signs of "neurological abnormalities and extensive skin injuries with evidence of infection." NOAA researchers explained that euthanizing the whale is the most humane option "since its chance of surviving in the wild was minimal."
Numerous efforts to free the whale from the sandbar have been attempted but to no avail. According to NBC New York, local fishermen and residents criticized the move saying NOAA's response to aid the whale was too late.
The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation also made several efforts to dislodge the whale but couldn't.
NOAA researchers explain that efforts to move whales off beaches "can cause more harm to the animal as strong pressure on the tail or flippers can result in internal injuries and put people involved at risk."
Director of NOAA's Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, John Bullard, explains that "the tidal conditions and other oceanic or biological factors that led to this stranding overtook any ability by our responders to rescue it."
NOAA officials even explained that apart from its extensive skin injuries, the whale may be suffering from "underlying health issues such as illness or malnutrition. Thus, refloating a large whale may not be in its best interest, as it is already sick."
Experts plan to conduct a necropsy and confirm if the whale is suffering from underlying health issues.
This whale was just one of the many humpback whales seen in the region. Recently, one has been spotted swimming in New York's Hudson River.